Misconception Monday – Are spiders poisonous?

Hey all,

Here is the first installment in my new section, “Misconception Mondays,” in which I will go over a common myth/misconception about spiders and/or other arachnids, and why it is false or misleading. My hope is to increase the public’s understanding of spiders, and, in turn, decrease their fears about these cute, little creatures.

So, what’s misconception # 1?  That all spiders contain venom that is deadly to humans.

Why is this false? For one, not all spiders actually contain venom! There is, in fact, one whole family of spiders (and possibly one or two others) which contains no venom, and instead strangles their prey in order to kill them. OK, maybe this doesn’t calm your fears about venomous spiders considering that the other 100 or so families of spider *do* contain some form of venom, which they use to kill prey.

Still, there is no need to worry. Why not? Because most spider venom is used to kill prey that weigh tens of thousands of times less than we do. The amount of venom in any one spider’s bite is almost never enough to kill or even harm a human. Additionally, the majority of spider venom is not actually poisonous to humans.

Feeling better? If not, don’t fret! I am hear to allay your fears and will provide more information on spider bites (including the bites of specific spiders – i.e. black widows) in the future.

Have a good rest of your Monday, and if you see a spider, treat it well because it is likely a friend and not a foe.

Best,

Emma

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